Problogger Event 2012: The Full Wrap Up (Pt 2)

Welcome to the second and final installment of my Problogger Event Wrap Up. I sat in on other sessions but didn’t take notes for all of them – and a lot of what was discussed will be covered in my blog series over the coming month. Feel free to fire away with any questions in the comments.

Click here to check out Part 1 of my recap and read on below for (even more) advice from the trenches…

Sarah presented twice, covering the topics The Media and Blogging and The Ten Simple Things That Turned Me Into a Full-Time(ish) Blogger (final keynote of the event), and even then I was left wanting more. Besides being gorgeous and a lovely person to boot, Sarah is seriously a font of knowledge – and the best part? She’s more than willing to share.

Highlights and words of wisdom below:

On blogging… 


1//  When she started out, Sarah knew she wasn’t a ‘white coat expert’ but that she was a conduit – a guinea pig experimenting and telling her own story, which helped her define her voice.

2 // Kerry Packer used to say “Don’t ask for permission, just know how to beg for forgiveness.” Be a maverick, try everything, make mistakes. You have to wade in and get dirty. Enter the fray.

3 // Sarah works with a “grubiness radar”- if what she’s doing starts to feel grubby, she stops doing it. She took comments off her blog and after a week, realised they were an important part of the site and her goal of connecting with humanity so they went back on. Don’t be afraid to change your mind.

4 // People can smell when you’re being inauthentic. Be cautious of when you’re starting to smell and ask yourself: “Am I cringing?”

{How Sarah makes her money – which is now around three times what she earned in traditional media}

5 // Map out all articles – beginning, middle and end – to ensure your article is structured and your message is clear. Try doing this the old fashioned way – pen to paper.

6 // Writer’s block? Follow the advice Sarah used to give her Cosmo staff who were struggling with a story: “Go to the pub.” She’d asked them to pretend they were at the pub with their best friend and to then explain what they were writing (which inevitably, would help them become “unstuck”).

7 // Whittle down to the minutiae when you’re telling a story. EG: Instead of saying “eat healthier food” say “eat scrambled eggs with turmeric.” Don’t be scared of the minutiae – go smaller and smaller and smaller.

8 // Work backwards. When Sarah was pulling together her I Quit Sugar eBook, she identified people she wanted to interview that already had established audiences and could help spread the word (Gwyneth Paltrow et al).

9 // Create your own boundaries. Sarah has a morning routine, checks emails twice day and steps “in and out” – sometimes she’s online more frequently and others she has to pull back and shut out the noise.

On design and essential blog components…


About page: add social proof by means of “As Seen In” media clippings. Ensure you’re making eye contact in your headshots and you have an up to date bio (or speakers spiel if you’re looking for speaking gigs) that media can easily grab from your site.

eBook design: tips from Sarah’s days as Cosmo editor – place important info in the top right and use odd numbers because from her experience, people like odd numbers (EG: 7 Reasons to Eat More Greens.)

Ensure the cover is beautifully designed with striking colours. Invest in photography.

On pitching to the media… 


1 // Keep it short and sweet and place all information in the body of the email (no attachments).

2 // Go to the junior rather than the editor or executive producer. Let them bring your idea to the table for you.

3 // Look at what’s going on in the news and tie your product/ service in. Read mUmBRELLA, tune in to Media Watch.

4 // When you’re interviewed (especially on TV) always keep it to three salient points/ sound bites. Stay on message.

5 // The lead up to Xmas and over the break is generally a quieter time of year for newspapers and journo’s are looking for content. Help them out, which in turn, helps you.

It was a privilege to hear from international keynote and $100 Startup author, Chris Guillebeau, who also took the stage a few times presenting on Making Money & Changing the World Through Blogging and How to Turn Visitors Into Raving Fans with event mastermind, Darren Rowse.

Insights as follows:

On engagement…


Why are engaged readers are so important? Because engaged readers are more likely to:

+ Get something out of your blog.

+ Make your site more useful for everyone.

+ Help you promote your site and grow faster.

+ Visit repeatedly and view multiple pages per session.

+ Are more likely to contribute content.

+ Are attractive to advertisers wanting to work with you.

+ Are attractive to potential buyers of your site.

+ Are more likely to convert with genuine affiliate promotions.

On acknowledging readers and building loyalty… 


Chris sent an email back to the first 10,000 people that subscribed to his list (over the first 1.5 years) to thank them personally for joining his tribe. He said most were surprised to hear from him and often asked if the email was an auto-responder. This one-on-one connection made him mindful of who he was speaking to.

Darren also relayed a story about sending a quick personal email to first time commenters to his blog, saying that one of the readers he emailed became his most prolific commenter over many years. When Darren first started blogging, he used to do free workshops in the local library and some of those people are still engaged with his blogs.

Side note: I’ll tell you why I love Chris – he’s one of those people that genuinely gives you his full attention when you meet. You know people that look you straight in the eye and when you shake hands, will put their other hand on top to create a sense of familiarity? He does that.

He also remembers your name (amazing, considering there were 300 people at that conference) and it’s very clear that he’s not in this for the numbers or the dollars – it’s all about the people and banding together to make significant change in the world. Respect.

 Other snippets… 


1 // Chris tries to always maintain a 50% balance between creating and connecting.

2 // Darren to Chris: Has building a big tribe been serendipitous? “In a way, yes, but there’s always been a solid commitment to working hard, so really, it’s a combination of both.” Moral of the story: very rarely do things just “land in your lap.”

Apart from being an excellent (and energetic) presenter, James Tuckerman from Anthill magazine totally knows his stuff. Key takeaways from his talk Lubricate Your Mind were to ensure your work is:

1 // Measureable: Don’t do anything online that can’t be measured.

2 // Findable: explore SEO so your work can be found.

3 // Shareable: Social channels let your readers share your message for you so it’s important to make everything you do shareable. Essentially, it’s about how you empower your target market to do your marketing for you (amplification).

3 // Manageable: what do you have set up to make life easier? This includes email responders, passive income coming in through eBook sales and so on.

James also asked “Why are Masterchef stars rich and famous?” Because they share their recipes for free, and because we know the quality, we want to buy their cookbooks and dine at their restaurants. Food for thought (zing!)

Top tip: Own the eyeballs. Rent the attention of your audience. The money’s in the database.


So there you have it, I hope you got as much out of these notes as I did. In case you missed it up top, you can click here for my first Problogger Event 2012 recap.

Over to you: I’d love to hear your thoughts and questions in the comments (and if you can, please share the love using the buttons below).

Problogger Event 2012: The Full Wrap Up (Pt 1)

I’m back after two info-packed days at the Problogger Event in Melbourne!

Like last year (2011 event recaps here and here), I’ve come home with my head spinning and full of ideas that I can’t wait to implement over the coming months.

The event was brilliant. On the networking front (although I prefer “connecting” or, let’s face it, chatting up a storm) I had a ball catching up with the women I met last year, as well as meeting some of my beautiful readers in person – and let’s not forget the B-School babes. There were fabulous ladies at every turn.


Big shout outs to: 

Steph (Lipstick & Cake); Christina (Hair Romance); Serena (Pretty Fluffy); Cara (Ultra Inspired); Celeste (As Seen In); Rose (Stylisa Mama); Chantelle (Fat Mum Slim); Kesh (The Bold and the Blunt); Denise (Denise Duffield-Thomas); Kylie (The Tall Poppy Project); Victoria (FB Ad Queen); Melissa (Soul Wellness); Kerry (Awaken Kinesiology); Lesh (The Mindful Foodie) and I’m sure I’m forgetting plenty of others, so hi hi hi to you too!

Other highlights of the weekend were having a good ol’ chat to Sarah Wilson at the post-event drinks on Friday night (yes, she is beyond amazing) and Chris Guillebeau, who has to be one of the nicest and most humble souls on the planet.

Both Sarah and Chris are huge inspirations to me for the way they show up in the world and it was a joy to be in their presence. When it comes to following your passion and living life on your own terms, these two have got it nailed.

{Clearly loving the Smilebooth}

And now to the recap. I’ll post my conference wrap up over a few different posts so your brain doesn’t explode with all the blogging info I’ll be serving up over the next few weeks (including my ‘build a blog’ series, that is).

Let’s launch in with a summary of two of the sessions from Day 1, shall we?

The first session was an introductory keynote from Mr Problogger himself, Darren Rowse. He eloquently made the point that we all start out small (and that small can be bigger than you think) and that growth comes as a result of taking consistent action.

Look for sparks.


When you’re thinking about ways to grow and monetise your blog, train yourself to look for sparks of energy that you can turn into something incredible.

+ Think about what it is that gives you energy – what posts flow easily, what topics do you love writing about?

+ What are your readers gathering around? Align what you’re excited about with what your readers are excited about and already responding positively to.

+ What are potential collaborators responding to?

+ Where is momentum growing? Darren identified iPhone photography was on the rise, so he created an instructional eBook to meet the need for information on the topic. Easy win.

Be active. 


Do you take daily action to monetise your blog? Consistent small actions have a big impact, so ask yourself What action will I take today that will grow my blog?

Darren issued a 15 Minutes a Day Challenge, which is as simple as adding 15 minutes every day to your workflow to focus on the activities that will make you money including:

1 // Writing an eBook or book

2 // Contacting potential advertisers

3 // Writing affiliate reviews

4 // Creating videos for a course

5 // Developing a media kit

6 // Building a coaching service

7 // Organising an event

8 // Evaluating what other blogs in your niche are doing to monetise their blogs

* 15 minutes a day helped Darren create a book that has now earned him $250,000. 

Nikki Parkinson, Styling You (pic source); Eden Riley, Edenland; Lorraine Murphy, The Remarkables Group (blog agency); Mrs Woog, Woogsworld

Next up was a panel discussion with the wonderful women above, who shared their experiences working with brands, and in Lorraine’s case, being the facilitator of the blogger-brand relationship.

If you’re looking to explore sponsored posts, giveaways and everything in between, it’s important to get your head around the below:

Ensure you’re tracking your stats. 


Brands will want information on the traffic coming to your website, so ensure you have Google Analytics installed and you’re tracking two key stats: Unique Visitors and Page Views.

Lorraine mentioned that brands are also interested in the return visitor percentage (to show how loyal your readers are) and that when she’s working with a blogger, she’ll take the average of their last three months of traffic because one month may be an inaccurate representation of real traffic to the site (EG: if a blog is linked to by a big blog the traffic may spike that month).

Know the difference between PR and marketing. 


PR: The aim of PR is to garner free editorial coverage for a brand or organisation. Most PR’s do not have (much of) a budget for sponsored posts.

Marketing: Large brands will generally have an allocated budget for marketing, which can include paying bloggers to promote a product. Bloggers with reasonable traffic (5000 uniques a month is a good start) can be paid on a scale ranging from $100 – $200 (for a sponsored post or email newsletter inclusion, for example) through to $15,000 for a print advertising campaign.

Get your blog noticed. 


Start a conversation with brands and PR’s on Twitter and Facebook. A good shortcut is to approach brands that are already working with bloggers as they’ll generally be more receptive. Ensure you love/ can relate to the product/ brand to keep the whole process authentic.

Attend events hosted by brands.

Monitor Source Bottle, an online site that connects journalists with credible sources for their stories. Coverage in mainstream media does get you noticed.

Enter blog competitions/ awards, which are judged on your writing.

Pitch your blog.


Approach a pitch as you would a job application (tailor the message and keep it professional).

Attach your media kit to a short and sweet emailing telling the brand manager who you are, what your blog is about and what you’re looking for.

Create a media kit. 


1 // Keep your kit to three pages with the most important information presented clearly, including all contact details and your bio.

2 // Get your point of difference across on the front page.

3 // Current stats (and don’t be misleading!) including blog traffic, Twitter/ Facebook numbers (including “talking about” number), Pinterest, Instagram and YouTube (if applicable, as well as any other social networks).

4 // Include details on you reader demographic, which can be derived from Facebook Insights and reader surveys.

5 // Include prices for sponsored posts and any banner advertising you might offer.

6 // Include ways that brands can be involved in giveaways and other editorial (free) opportunities.

The last session I’ll be recapping in this post was presented by Nicole Avery from Planning with Kids and covered the how-to’s for making money through sponsored posts.

What are sponsored posts?


A post published on a blog for which the blogger has received money from a company/ brand.

Sponsored post: a product/ experience is given to a blogger, who then writes about the product/ experience tying in key messaging and that blogger is then paid for doing so. It’s important to disclose that the post has been sponsored by including a line such as “This is a sponsored post” and linking off to your disclosure policy.

Review: a product/ experience is given to a blogger, who then writes about the product/ experience, without payment.

What you’ll need to run sponsored posts.


1 // An advertising/ Work With Me page (examples here and here).

2 // Professional and up to date media kit.

3 // A disclosure policy. If you’re stuck on what to include, generate a policy here at

4 // An ABN/ invoice system/ way to be paid.

Blogger agencies and setting your rates.


Nuffnang – starting rate for sponsored posts is $110.

The Remarkables Group – starting rate for sponsored posts is $1500 (less agency fee of 30%).

Digital Parents Collective – starting rate for sponsored posts is $150 (less agency fee).

Rocketman Media – starting rate for sponsored posts is $100.

Social Call Out – based on what the brand is offering.

When it comes to setting your rates, the following need to be considered:

1 // Unique visitors to your site.

2 // Australian traffic percentage.

3 // Reader engagement.

4 // Blog and brand reputation.

5 // Social media reach (number of fans/ followers).

Converting PR pitches to sponsored posts.


Hands up if you receive a slew of emails from PR’s looking for you to write about the brand they’re promoting? Yep. If you’re looking to take things a step further and have the traffic to back up a request to be paid for the promotion, Nicole suggests creating a standard template email that goes something like this:

Hi xxx

Thank you for your email regarding a product review on {your blog}. Due to the sheer volume of requests I now receive to do product reviews, I am no longer taking items for review, with the exception of items from sponsors for sponsored posts. I have attached my media kit with rates for your consideration. 

King regards

{your name} 

Reporting back.


Track the performance of your posts through things like: click through rates, reader reactions on social media (take screen captures) and total visitors to the post.

So there you go, lots of information to take in there! As always, I encourage you to leave any questions you might have in the comments below and (pretty please) spread the love using the ‘Share’ and ‘Tweet’ buttons below. Thank you so much!

Image: Society 6